Cute. Good lord, that word makes me puke. Outside
of about two percent of all baby mammals, a handful of ultra-rare
Beanie Babies and my grandmother's tissue doilies, I can't think
of a God damn thing that's "cute". Yet, the word gets overused
as much as hack movie critics abuse "hilarious" and "edge-of-your-seat."
There are people who go through their whole lives using only
cute, neat and weird as descriptive adjectives. "Isn't this
dress cute? "Oh, your house is so neat!" "That foulmouthed man
at the Tavern is so... weird." "First, I thought he was sort
of cute. Then I found out he had a lot of money and that was
neat. But when I discovered he made it in gay porn it made me
Does anyone know what cute means anymore? Has
it been completely stripped of definition by women with "49%
Angel" bumper stickers on their Tercels? Or has it always meant
generic, tame and harmless? That's the way it applies to You
Kill Me. What a cute, sterile piece of shit. It's like a
Build-a-Bear wearing a camouflage jacket on: a fucking harmless
piece of fluff dressed for danger. Man, few things piss me off
more than dimfucks and screwdicks who pretend to be outrageous
without risking a thing.
You Kill Me is pure shit, safe and sane,
as synthetic as the ambience at a Starbuck's. Add three parts
hit man, two parts heart of gold, one part self-discovery, five
parts secondary characters of little interest. Stir it all together
and, poof, some sort of harmless green crap that won't offend
anyone, but might fool someone into thinking they're seeing
something edgy. Cute, I'm sure someone thinks, but a complete
waste of my time. Jesus Taco Christ, the name itself, You
Kill Me is lame enough to tip the thing off.
Ben Kingsley plays the hit man, which I think
is some sort of shorthand for hack writers when they want an
amoral character, but are too damn stupid to define one for
himself. How many fucking hit men have there been in the movies
now? And of that, how many times has the story been about them
finding their soul? Too God damn many. This time, Kingsley is
also a drunk. A lovable one, of course, but so lush that he
botches a job and gets sent away from his Buffalo home to scenic
San Francisco to dry out.
Why San Francisco? Because this movie is so
sweet it makes your teeth hurt like your nuts in a clamp. No
other reason. In Frisco--I hear the folks there hate when you
call it that--anyway, in Frisco, Kingsley has to attend Alcoholics
Anonymous meetings and work a job prepping corpses for a funeral
home. Why that job? Because it's quirky! And quirky is cute.
Plus, dead people have an edginess about them that really isn't
edgy at all. All that forced quirkiness gives the proceedings
a sort of Showtime series quality. You know, the oddness for
its own sake, because the creators aren't clever enough to work
Soon enough, Kingsley is befriended by the charisma-free
Luke Wilson as a former drunk who runs a tollbooth. Why a tollbooth?
Isn't it quirky? Kingsley also falls for Tea Leoni, a hard-faced
woman whom he meets as she drops off her dead father at the
funeral home. Why does she fall for an old, weathered fart like
Kingsley? Because she is the executive producer of the movie,
and he is the biggest name they could get for the lead role,
of course. Besides, real attraction is irrelevant to this Fiesta
del Turdo. It's much more about sitting back and occasionally
thinking, "Gee, that's cute."
With the strength of a good woman and the dull
shoulder of Wilson to lean on, Kingsley recovers. Of course,
he has a couple of "cute" relapses, and plenty of self-doubt
about whether he is good enough for an ambitious, yet nondescript,
woman like Leoni. It all works out, though. Sure, people are
fazed to find out he is a hit man, but only in the cutest of
open-mouthed ways. I'm surprised nobody does a spit take.
Instead, Leoni gives us a double take and then
keeps on loving him, maybe only so the movie can give us a "cute"
montage of scenes where he teaches her how to also kill people.
Wilson doesn't judge, and he doesn't call the cops. Why should
he? Kingsley is just so fucking cute. The movie doesn't give
a wet goat's teat about the moral implications, really. I mean,
everyone has a reaction, but we're expected to love Kinglsey
and assume he has a heart of gold under his bulletproof vest.
We're supposed to understand all the dimfucked morons around
him who go, "hit man... huh, that's interesting" and then go
on their merry ways.
But the redemption of a hit man is a tired act.
You Kill Me really offers nothing new on any subject,
but plows on with a smug blandnessI usually only feel at Starbuck's.
That's the aesthetic this movie goes for: the inside of a upscale
coffee shop with its striving for inoffensive, faux cool. Just
safe and clean.
I like my movies the way I like my taverns:
full of dirtbags and drunks without hearts of gold, people who
act real, and aren't afraid to take chances and be themselves.
You Kill Me is none of that. It's too damn busy faking
cute. One Finger.